Transcending coincidence through Thanksgiving, While We’re Waiting


Happy Tuesday, WFNY!

At some point in college, I bought a small clock radio with a radio alarm function. I don’t remember actually buying it. I couldn’t tell you where I bought it from or why I picked this particular one1, nor would I say it even holds any real sentimental value to me. I just know I bought it in college because I needed an alarm. And I’m so old that I didn’t have a cell phone in college2 to serve as my alarm. I had a small buzzer alarm, but I had grown annoyed with the buzzing. I wanted a radio alarm, so I went out and got one.

When I graduated from college and entered the workforce, I knew the time had come. I needed to be an adult and have a cell phone. Now that I had a cell phone, I could use it as my alarm. I no longer needed the clock radio to serve as my alarm. So I moved the radio into my bathroom. I figured I could listen to sports radio in the mornings as I got ready for work. Because it was a cheap radio, it didn’t pull in stations very well unless they had a strong signal. In Columbus, the only sports talk radio station that I could reliably pull in was the ESPN Radio affiliate. I don’t know why I remember this, but my first morning at my first job out of college, as I was getting ready for work I was listening to Mike & Mike.

I thought about all of this last week as Mike & Mike came to an end after a nearly 18-year run together. It dawned on me that I had listened to Mike & Mike in the morning every single day of my working career. To be clear, I am well aware that Mike and Mike were not everyone’s cup of tea. Plenty of people felt they were safe, vanilla, and boring. And I completely get that. I don’t even know if I totally disagree with them. At first, I merely listened because it was the only sports station I could pull in. Over time, though, I grew comfortable with the two Mikes and their show just became part of my normal morning routine.

Here’s the thing. In the morning, I don’t need an edgy sports show. I don’t need high-level analysis and breakdowns. My brain isn’t ready to be stimulated yet. There was something familiar about the comfortability of Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic. No matter how anyone feels about their show, the chemistry between the two of them was undeniable. There was a perfect push and pull between the two, one the eccentric sports nerd, the other the former tough-guy athlete. It just worked. And for an hour every morning, they were the perfect background noise to my work preparations.

So it was stunning when it was announced earlier this year that the show would be coming to an end. Mike Greenberg would be moving on to his own morning TV talk show, while Mike Golic would stay on the radio in the same time slot with Trey Wingo and Golic’s son, Mike Golic, Jr. It’s a surprisingly bold move for ESPN. Mike & Mike had grown into an advertising powerhouse. At a time when advertising roles seem more in flux than ever when it comes to advertising in sports, disrupting a sure thing was definitely a risk. I certainly wasn’t expecting the end of the show to come so soon, and I realized that after 14 years of listening to the show every morning, it was going to feel weird without it.

I was expecting some grand farewell show for their final show last Friday, but I suppose I should have known better. Instead, Greeny and Golic pretty much just did a standard show, the same way they had for 18 years. At the end of the show, they brought out their families, said farewell, and then poof….they were gone. Show over.

Monday morning, as I woke up and began to get ready for work, I flipped on my trusty clock radio, yes, the same one I bought in college. Instead of the familiar opening theme music of Mike & Mike, I was instead greeted with a radio voiceover saying “This is Waddle and Silvy on ESPN Radio”. That’s when it really set in. There is no more Mike & Mike. Kind of a bummer, but life goes on. So I was listening to Tom Waddle and Marc Silverman, who are filling in this week until the Golic and Wingo show debuts next week, and while I was in the shower, I noticed I could barely hear the show. I figured the sound was just low. But then, after my shower, I noticed it kept getting quieter and quieter. Suddenly, the sound just went away completely. My radio had died.

Talk about a strange start to my Monday. Anyway, I went to work, and first thing that morning I had a meeting. In that meeting, somehow we got to talking about the word ‘gray’ and how the word can be spelled with either an ‘a’ or an ‘e’. Someone mentioned that the name Gray seemed to always be spelled with an ‘a’. I opined that it was because the name is short for Grayson, which is always spelled with an ‘a’. As someone with a nephew named Grayson, I felt like I was probably as good of an authority as you could find in that room on the name.

Anyway, after the meeting ended, I got back to my computer and flipped it on, only to learn of Terry Glenn’s passing. It was definitely a heartbreaking story. Glenn was one of my all-time favorite Buckeyes. On the field, he was pure electricity, arguably one of the two or three absolute must-watch athletes of my life at Ohio State. Off the field, Glenn was a bit more enigmatic. He was extremely quiet, and fans never seemed to really know much about him. To be fair, I was pretty young when he was at Ohio State, but I was old enough to remember the feeling of watching him play and wondering what he was like off the field. Glenn was often compared to Joey Galloway, another beloved Buckeye. While Glenn was unquestionably the more dynamic player on the field, Galloway was the larger personality off the field. Everyone knew what Galloway was all about. Glenn was harder to read.

There were stories about a rougher upbringing for Glenn. While others were in position to immediately capitalize on their athletic prowess, Glenn instead came to Ohio State as a preferred walk-on. After his career in the NFL was over, Glenn was arrested multiple times as he struggled with his personal demons. In recent years, though, Glenn seemed to have turned his life around. He seemed to have cleaned himself up, and he was recently engaged. As a read a news piece on Glenn, it talked about his family and how important his fiancee was to him as he looked to begin a new path in his life as a family man. The article talked about the ones Glenn left behind. His fiancee was rumored to have been in the fatal accident with Glenn, but she survived with minor injuries. Glenn had six children he left behind. His youngest was a six-month-old son. His name was Greyson. With an ‘e’.

My jaw dropped as I read that. I couldn’t believe the coincidences on my Monday morning. First, my radio dying the first day after Mike & Mike, and then discussing the spelling of the name Grayson (or Greyson) only to find out moments later that Terry Glenn had passed away and had a son named Greyson.

While I recognize the coincidence of this all, it did kind of drive home a few things for me, particularly this being the week of Thanksgiving. It’s easy to take things for granted. Even things that have been part of our lives for decades. Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks, but it can also be a time to stop and really appreciate the gifts we have in our lives. From family to friends to sports to music to art, whatever it is that gives us joy and motivates us to keep pushing forward in life and to keep evolving and growing as people. The news these days is filled with bleakness, anger, and hopelessness. It’s easy to get bogged down by it all.

So this Thanksgiving, as I begin new traditions with my family, I will be thinking about that balance between stability and fragility. And in that context, I will not take this time for granted and I will be sure to give extra thanks. I hope you all are able to do the same.

Every year around this time, we stop to thank you guys for reading. It’s been an interesting year for us at WFNY. Behind the scenes, there has been a lot of change and there are ongoing discussions about the future of the site and how we can best push forward. But things would have been significantly harder for us without your support. Our Patrons will probably never really know just how important they were to us this year. So to anyone who has supported us via Patreon, I personally want to say thanks again and let you know that you are not taken for granted in any way.

And lest anyone reading this think we take you for granted, I assure you we don’t. Even if you’re not able to support us via Patreon, just taking time out of your day to read this site helps us through our advertising partners. And those who comment on the posts, you continue to challenge us and call us out when we fall short of our own standards. So thank you all.

I hope everyone has safe travels and a warm, fun, and ultimately fulfilling Thanksgiving weekend.

  1. I was in college then, so I can guess. It was almost certainly just the cheapest model I could find. There are no words to describe how poor I was in college. Oh wait, there is: poverty. []
  2. Plenty of other people had cell phones at that time, but they weren’t anywhere near as pervasive as they are now. I couldn’t afford a cell phone anyway. Did I mention how poor I was? []